DOT Pipeline Compliance News

December 2002 Issue

In This Issue

USCG/EPA Region VI Regional Response Team (RRT) 2003 Winter Meeting, January 29-30

The USCG / EPA Region VI Regional Response Team (RRT) will hold its 2003 winter meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on January 29-30, 2003. The meeting will be held at the Radisson Hotel Downtown Market Square, 502 West Durago. There are thirteen Regional Response Teams (RRTs) in the United States, each representing a particular geographic region (including the Caribbean and the Pacific Basin). The RRTs are composed of representatives from the field offices of the general agencies that make up the National Response Team, as well as state representatives. The three major responsibilities of RRTs are (1) planning; (2) training; and (3) coordination.

A block of rooms have been reserved under RRT VI at the federal government rate of $91.00 per day and State rate of $80.00. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-333-3333. Please RSVP to Welcome T. Duncan at or phone (504) 589-6255 if you plan to attend. We hope to see you there!

O&M Manual Up-To-Date?

RCP has the tools and expertise to develop comprehensive procedures that you need to protect your people, facilities, and environment. Click Here

Decision That Nonconforming 1999 Ferrari F355 Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation

Editor’s favorite Federal Register trivia of the day: You will be pleased to know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has decided that 1999 Ferrari F355 passenger cars not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards are eligible for importation into the United States [Docket No. NHTSA-2001-10526; Notice 2]. The wait for your dream car may soon be over! Anybody remember Tom Cruise in the movie “Rain Man”?

Interested in Web-Based Compliance Management Systems?

RCP has the latest technology to help manage all of your permits, inspections, procedures, and data requirements and neatly organize them into one overall compliance assurance system. This includes regulatory tasking, data management, and exception reporting. Because it is web-based, there are no IT issues to struggle through to get started. An institutional memory is created of the compliance history and ongoing compliance requirements, despite operator or personnel turnover.  Click Here

Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans – OSHA Final Rule

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is revising its standards for means of egress. The purpose of this revision is to rewrite the existing requirements in clearer language so they will be easier to understand by employers, employees, and others who use them. The revisions reorganize the text, remove inconsistencies among sections, and eliminate duplicative requirements. The rules are performance-oriented to the extent possible, and more concise than the original, with fewer subparagraphs, and fewer cross-references to other OSHA standards. Additionally, a table of contents has been added that is intended to make the standards easier to use.

Also, OSHA is changing the name of the subpart from “Means of Egress” to “Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans” to better describe the contents.

Finally, OSHA has evaluated the National Fire Protection Association’s Standard 101, Life Safety Code, 2000 Edition (NFPA 101-2000), and has concluded that the standard provides comparable safety to the Exit Routes Standard. Therefore, employers who wish to comply with the NFPA 101-2000 instead of the OSHA standards for Exit Routes may do so.

The final rule becomes effective December 9, 2002. It can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.

Acquiring a pipeline?

RCP can provide due diligence audits to help you ensure that potential compliance issues have been addressed before the sale is final. Click Here.

PE Certification of SPCC Plans

With the recent revisions to the SPCC plan regulations (see our August, 2002 newsletter), there has been a lot of discussion concerning the best way to review and update existing plans. Some people have asked if they can prepare the plan, and have us just provide the PE certification. The following information is from guidance to Professional Engineers concerning SPCC certification:

“One of the more frequent infractions of Engineering rules and regulations is the affixing of one’s seal to work not done under one’s direct supervision or responsible charge. The long-standing standard practice of the 50 states and 4 jurisdictions within the National Council of Engineering Examiners (NCEE) is not to permit the certification of work not performed by the licensee. In recent disciplinary matters, the Board has observed a greater incidence of the inappropriate use of the registrant’s seal . . . . The most frequent violation involves the registrant being provided documents for review and sealing when the registrant has provided no professional input in that particular work product. Board rules do not permit a registrant to review another’s work for adequacy or code compliance and then affix the Professional Engineer certification.

[Licensee] Question: Can I review engineering plans and specifications which were prepared by someone not registered as a Professional Engineer, and prepare a letter specifying the results of my review?

[Board] Answer: The Statutes prohibit the use of the registrant’s seal for the purpose of aiding and abetting any other person to evade or attempt to evade the provisions of this chapter.”

The general guidance is that the person doing the work has to be either the PE, or someone working for the PE and under the PE’s “direct supervision or responsible charge”. RCP is a registered professional engineering corporation, and we have several PEs on staff who are registered in multiple states. We would be glad to work with you to update and revise your existing SPCC plans. But our representative must visit the site, verify the data, and prepare the revisions to the plan in order for us to certify it.

PIPELINE101 Website

The Association of Oil Pipe Lines and American Petroleum Institute have launched a new web site called “Pipeline 101” that is designed to provide basic information on the nation’s pipeline system. This site provides information and facts about the industry, it’s history, how to detect and report leaks, right of way issues, pipeline economics, and other fundamentals. Pipeline companies are encouraged to use this in their communications activities with the public. The new site is located at

Editor’s note: This site is still undergoing some development, but is very well done. You really ought to check it out!

Misc Proposed Rules – Gas Pipelines

RSPA is proposing to change some of the safety standards for gas pipelines. The changes are based on recommendations by the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) and a review of the recommendations by the State Industry Regulatory Review Committee (SIRRC). The changes will improve the clarity and effectiveness of the present standards.

Persons interested in submitting written comments on the rules proposed in this notice must do so by January 13, 2003 [Docket No. RSPA-02-13208; Notice 1]. Late filed comments will be considered so far as practicable. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: L.M. Furrow by phone at 202-366-4559, by fax at 202-366-4566, by mail at U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or by e-mail at

The proposed changes include:

  • Modifying the definitions of Service Line and Service Regulator
  • Deleting the second sentence of 192.123(b)(2)(i), as obsolete
  • In 192.197(a), changing “under 60 psig” to “60 psig or less.”
  • Removing the requirement from 192.311 that a “patching saddle” must be used to repair harmful damage to new plastic pipelines if the damaged pipe is not removed
  • Requiring separation between pipe and wire, where practical, and require that tracer wire be protected against corrosion, to prevent underground plastic pipe from being damaged by electrically charged tracer wire and to maintain wire integrity.
  • Amending 192.353(a) to emphasize that vehicular damage is a type of damage from which meters and service regulators must be protected.
  • Amending 192.457(b) and 192.465(e) to clarify the meaning of “electrical survey” and what circumstances make an electrical survey “impractical.” Also, requiring operators to consider all relevant information when using an alternative to an electrical survey.
  • To assure the proper concentration of odorant in accordance with this section, requiring each operator to conduct periodic sampling of combustible gases using an instrument capable of determining the percentage of gas in air at which the odor becomes readily detectable
  • Clarifying the meaning of “correct pressure” in 192.739(c) and “insufficient capacity” in 192.743(c) by cross-referencing 192.201, which limits the overpressure of pipelines protected by pressure relieving and limiting stations.
  • Changing 192.743 to allow operators to use calculations to determine if relief devices are of sufficient capacity without first having to determine that testing the devices in place is not feasible
  • Correcting the conflict between 192.621(a)(3), which allows a pressure as high as 25 psig in cast iron pipe with unreinforced bell and spigot joints, and 192.753(a), which requires cast-iron bell and spigot joints subject to pressures of 25 psig or more to be sealed.
  • Amending 192.517 to require that operators maintain a record of each test required by 192.509, 192.511, and 192.513 for at least 5 years
  • Changing the reference to “this part” in 192.553(d) to “192.619 and 192.621” to specify the sections that limit MAOP
  • Adding 192.605(b)(11) to read as follows: “Responding promptly to a report of gas odor inside or near a building, unless the operator’s emergency procedures under 192.615(a)(3) specifically apply to these reports.”
  • Amending 192.745 to require operators to take prompt remedial action if any valve is found inoperable
  • Amending 192.747 to require prompt remedial action if any such valve is found inoperable, unless the operator designates an alternate valve.

The complete proposed rule is available on RCP’s website here.

Air Permit Needs?

Are you planning to expand or acquire? Air permit applications can be complex and consuming. RCP has the expertise to navigate through the application process, develop compliance assurance systems, and submit reports. Click Here

API Releases New Edition Of Pipeline Monitoring Standard

API has released the second edition of its Standard 1130 covering computational pipeline monitoring systems (CPMs) for liquid pipelines. The publication covers the design, implementation, testing and operation of CPM systems, whose primary function is to assist the pipeline operator in detecting releases. This early warning then allows the operator to undertake an immediate investigation, confirm the reason for the CPM alarm, and initiate a response when it represents an operational upset or release. The DOT’s liquid pipeline safety rules have incorporated section 4.2 of this standard at 49 CFR 195.134. For additional information contact Andrea Johnson, Standards, 202-682-8107 or

Operator Qualification Pipeline Industry Forum January 21 and January 23, 2003

Several industry associations and interest groups are partnering to co-sponsor a Forum on Operator Qualification at the Hyatt Regency Riverwalk – San Antonio, Texas, on January 21 and 23, 2003, in conjunction with the OPS OQ meeting on January 22, 2003. The sponsors have organized this Forum to provide pipeline operating professionals the opportunity to gain further understanding as to the OQ protocol development process, and express concerns and get valuable feedback from their peers. The Forum is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning (the afternoon before the OPS meeting; and the morning after the OPS meeting).

The forum is sponsored by :

  • American Gas Association
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • American Public Gas Association
  • Midwest Energy Association
  • New England Gas Association
  • Southern Gas Association
  • Western Energy Institute

and is intended for pipeline operator personnel only. A brochure for this forum can be downloaded at RCP’s website here.

Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Web Site

The Office of Compliance (OC), within EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), announces the availability of and invites comments on its new Web site, Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), which contains searchable, facility-level enforcement and compliance information. The Web site is available at ECHO provides integrated compliance and enforcement information for approximately 800,000 regulated facilities nationwide. The site allows users to find facility-level inspection, violation, enforcement action, and penalty information for the past two years. Facilities regulated under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Stationary Source Program, Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System (NPDES), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) are included. ECHO reports provide a snapshot of a facility’s environmental record, showing dates and types of violations, as well as the State or Federal government’s response. ECHO reports also contain demographic information from the National Census.

This notice announces a 60-day comment period, which is being provided to give interested parties, particularly those responsible for facilities included within the database, the opportunity to review ECHO’s content, design, and accuracy of data. Comments may be submitted to as a Word or WordPerfect file or mailed to Rebecca Kane, Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, MC 2222A, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. Specific data errors should be submitted using the error correction process on the ECHO site. Comments must be submitted no later than January 21, 2003.

EPA is soliciting comments on the usability of the site as well as the accuracy of the data. EPA is specifically asking for responses to the following questions:

  1. Does the site provide meaningful and useful information about the compliance and enforcement program?
  2. Is the site easy to navigate?
  3. Does the help text adequately explain the data?
  4. What additional features, content, and/or modifications would improve the site?
  5. For members of the regulated community:
    1. Were your facility reports accurate?
    2. If you did need to submit an online error report, was the error reporting process easy to use?

Please note that comments are requested for the project in general; specific data errors should be reported through the error correction process on ECHO. (This feature is on every facility report-click on the red button on the top right of the page.) Also, please include question numbers in responses.

Correction to Hazardous Liquid Corrosion Rule

The DOT / OPS has corrected the hazardous liquid pipeline corrosion rule (66 FR 66994, December 27, 2001), by reformatting the table in � 195.573 (c) to clarify that rectifiers, reverse current switches, diodes, and interference bonds whose failure would jeopardize structural protection should all be checked 6 times each calendar year, but with intervals not exceeding 2.5 months. The previous table had extraneous lines that were confusing.

Homeland Security Department Organization

The new Homeland Security Department approved by Congress on November 19, 2002 will combine 22 agencies, 170,000 employees, and run with a budget of approximately $38 billion. Headed by a Secretary of Homeland Security, it will have four main divisions, each headed by an undersecretary. The following is a complete list of the agencies moving into the new department:

Informational Analysis and Infrastructure Protection

  • Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office (Dept. of Commerce);
  • Federal Computer Incident Response Center (General Services Administration);
  • National Communications System (Dept. of Defense);
  • National Infrastructure Protection Center (FBI); and,
  • National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (Dept. of Energy).

Border and Transportation Security

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service (Dept. of Justice);
  • Customs Service (Dept. of Treasury);
  • Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (Dept. of Agriculture);
  • United States Coast Guard (Dept. of Transportation);
  • Federal Protective Services Police (General Services Administration); and,
  • Transportation Security Agency (Dept. of Transportation).

Emergency Preparedness and Response

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency;
  • Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Assets (Dept. of Health and Human Services);
  • Domestic Emergency Support Team (Interagency group);
  • Nuclear Incident Response (Dept. of Energy);
  • Office of Domestic Preparedness (Dept. of Justice); and,
  • National Domestic Preparedness Office (FBI).

Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures

  • Civilian Biodefense Research Programs (Dept. of Health and Human Services);
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Dept. of Energy);
  • National Biological Weapons Defense Analysis Center (New); and,
  • Plum Island Animal Disease Center (Dept. of Agriculture).

The US Secret Service (Dept. of the treasury) is also moving to the new Department of Homeland Security, but will stand as its own entity.

Advisory Bulletin: Notification of the Susceptibility To Premature Brittle-Like Cracking of Older Plastic Pipe

RSPA has issued a follow-up advisory bulletin to owners and operators of natural gas distribution systems to inform them of the susceptibility to premature brittle-like cracking of older plastic pipe and the voluntary efforts to collect and analyze data on plastic pipe performance. In recent years, brittle-like cracking has been observed in some polyethylene pipes installed in gas service through the early 1980s. This brittle-like cracking (also known as slow crack growth) can substantially reduce the service life of polyethylene piping systems.

The susceptibility of some polyethylene pipes to brittle-like cracking is dependent on the resin, pipe processing, and service conditions. A number of studies have been conducted on older polyethylene pipe. These studies have shown that some of these older polyethylene pipes are more susceptible to brittle-like cracking than current materials. These older polyethylene pipe materials include the following:

  • Century Utility Products, Inc. products.
  • Low-ductile inner wall “Aldyl A” piping manufactured by Dupont Company before 1973.
  • Polyethylene gas pipe designated PE 3306. (As a result of poor performance this designation was removed from ASTM D-2513.)

Because systems without known susceptible materials may also experience brittle-like cracking problems, RSPA recommends that all operators implement the following practices for all polyethylene piping systems:

  1. Review system records to determine if any known susceptible materials have been installed in the system. Both engineering and purchasing records should be reviewed. Based on the available records, identify the location of the susceptible materials. More frequent inspection and leak surveys should be performed on systems that have exhibited brittle-like cracking failures of known susceptible materials.
  2. Establish a process to identify brittle-like cracking failures. Identification of failure types and site installation conditions can yield valuable information that can be used in predicting the performance of the system.
  3. Use a consistent record format to collect data on system failures. The AGA Plastic Failure Report form (Appendix F of the AGA Plastic Pipe Manual) provides an example of a report for the collection of failure data.
  4. Collect failure samples of polyethylene piping exhibiting brittle-like cracking. Evidence of brittle-like cracking may warrant laboratory testing. Although every failure may not warrant testing, collecting samples at the time of failure would provide the opportunity to conduct future testing should it be deemed necessary.
  5. Whenever possible record the print line from any piping that has been involved in a failure. The print line information can be used to identify the resin, manufacturer and year of manufacture for plastic piping.
  6. For systems where there is no record of the piping material, consider recording print line data when piping is excavated for other reasons. Recording the print line data can aid in establishing the type and extent of polyethylene piping used in the system.

The entire advisory bulletin can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.

New Pipeline Safety Legislation

The House and Senate have approved new pipeline safety legislation, called the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. Among other things, the bill will:

  • Establish self-implementing requirements for gas pipeline integrity management programs (gas pipeline operators will be required to establish integrity management programs by certain deadlines, even if the DOT’s regulations are not promulgated by that time).
  • Require all pipeline operators (excluding distribution and gathering lines) to submit pipeline mapping data to the National Pipeline Mapping System within 6 months.
  • Increase the maximum penalty for repeated safety violations to $1 million.
  • Give states greater oversight of safety procedures.
  • Protect industry whistle-blowers.

The entire bill can be downloaded from RCP’s website here.

Bill Byrd signature
W. R. (Bill) Byrd, PE
RCP Inc.